We were both late for work. I guess a normal, productive time to leave for work for us is usually around 7:40am or so. Any later than that, it’s a race to the desk. Before that and you’re just showing off.

It was 8:15am.

I’m following her towards the front entrance of the neighborhood and I notice her brake lights in front of me flash but didn’t see anything in front of her. She stopped and opened the door. I thought she must need to tell me something but forgot how cell phones worked. I noticed her looking down at a very waggy tail.

The puppy was probably 3 or 4 months old. A boxer brindle. Her first thought was “she has a collar but not a tag.”. My first thought was “Turn around, get and your car and go back home. Now.”. We looked around, trying to see if anyone was out looking for this pup. Not a soul. We decided that we would take her back to the house where at least she’s safe and deal with the flyers and owner search that afternoon.

We magically maneuvered Lyla, our chocolate lab, out of the way without her getting any glimpse whatsoever of this puppy. It was for her own good.

We tried leaving the addition again only to be stopped by a lady looking around outside her house. Court probably thought, “This is probably the owner.”. I thought, “Drive woman, drive!”. The fact is that Court is better than me and she stopped to ask if this “owner” was missing a dog. Of course she was. She said there was a hole in the fence that she’s been “meaning” to fix. At least I know that if I end up fighting her for custody, I’ll know I’ll be fighting an idiot. I know I gave Court the “do we hafta?” look because she responded to me with the “turn back around” look.

We didn’t even try to hide her from Lyla this time. The puppy was waiting patiently at the back door as we picked her up and took her inside. Lyla’s tail was the happiest out of everyone in that house. It was refreshing and kind of sad at the same time.

Before she loaded up the pup in her car, I rubbed her head and gave her a kiss. I then became really upset. This innocent puppy smelled like smoke. Assholes. I proceeded to let my wife know just how mad I was with exclaiming a very harsh, “tell them to fix their fence!” She responded with a quiet “we can’t change the world.”.

We drove off and stopped in front of this broken fenced lady’s house. I found out that her name was Anna. The dog, not the lady. I think the lady was Cruella. Court did the drop off and we left. Late for work.

To tell you the truth, both of us felt kind of heartbroken. It’s weird how losing one can make you jump quickly to another.

We didn’t talk all day. We usually text a few times a day. Not that day. I couldn’t stop thinking about those few minutes. How that puppy made us feel. How she made Lyla feel.

The next day, Court worked from home. Yeah, she’s one of those people. I went to work and pretty much had the same day as the day before, filled with thoughts of a smoky boxer. My actual work day sucked as well so when I got a text from Court asking when I would be home, I was less than enthusiastic. She did say she was excited to see me so that helped the drive home. As I walked in the door,Lyla comes running up to me. She’s always the first one up. It always makes me smile. Then Court walks around the corner and asks how my day was. I guess the look on my face wasn’t the best as she asked if everything was okay. I assured her that it was and then she sat me on the couch and told me to close my eyes. She walks out of the room and a few seconds later returned and I got the green light to open.

I assumed she has found something she had lost. Made me sugar cookies. Got Lyla a new collar. Bought me the movie Flash Gordon that I’ve been trying to find since the 80’s. In those few seconds, my mind thought of many different things but not one of those things ended up being this thing.



The night before we had discussed the possibility of getting another dog. We had one issue and it kept us going back and forth on the issue. She wanted a puppy. I wanted a shelter dog. Never did I think those two wants would come together but here’s my wife finding a sheltered puppy. A shelter had a dog that just had a litter. Here’s the bonus: the shelter she found is a no kill shelter and when they place one of their dogs, they go to a kill shelter and take one back. So I look at it that we saved ours from a possible life in a shelter and saved one from a kill shelter.

Instant life changer.

Even after the amazing moment of getting to know this new lab mix of a puppy we named Millie, it’s still difficult not to think that someone is missing. No doubt that Millie will help us heal, especially Lyla. The funny thing is that Lyla has been thrusted into the big sister role. A role that she has been relishing in so far. But it still feels that Bailey is missing. Or simply missed. Definitely missed.

Millie will never take the place of Bailey. One thing is for certain though, the moment I saw Millie, I already knew I loved her like I did Bailey.

Smokey or not.



2 thoughts on “Millie

  1. What an awesome story. I’m so glad I waited until the post to hear it. I want you to send me all of the other dogs from that shelter because that sounds like the greatest place on earth and I want to help the poor dogs in the regular shelter and also have all of Millie’s brothers and sisters and her mommy.

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